The Saylyugem Bear
Wild Frontiers is used to exploring wilderness areas. The UK travel company specialises in off the beaten track holidays, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Sudan. Yet even they were startled when on one of their wildest recces yet; the discovery of a bear in Siberia, long thought extinct.
Early in June, Wild Frontiers Product Manager Anna Baldwin was recceing a new trip in the Altai Mountains, close to the Mongolian border, when the discovery was made. “We were looking out for wildlife around us, when from a distance we saw what looked like a mountain sheep – all we could see was a mass of blonde white fur. As we got closer we realised it was much bigger and was some kind of bear. Our guides had heard stories of the supposed Saylyugem Bear but until now there had just been one or two local sightings. When we realised this was the rare bear we were literally running down the cliffs to get a closer look, and the guides themselves were in disbelief.”
Locals have been trying to prove the existence of the bear for years, but until now the closest people have come to evidence were dens and paw prints. Not everyone is convinced this is the rare Saylyugem Bear, with some even arguing the species does not exist. One theory is it could be an albino Russian bear, or a relative of the endangered Tien Shan bear.
But we believe we have found the legend of the Altai!